A Research and Demonstration Project:

Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program
on Neurophysiology, Cognitive Development,
and Health in College Students

Students from all cultures around the world are enjoying the benefits of meditation in their daily lives. Transcendental Meditation research shows a range of benefits from creativity, to improved brain functioning, improved cardiovasular health and increased IQ. Below are some of the experiences of students who participated in the American University TM study.

Anne Barton-Veenkant

“I’m just as busy as I was last semester, but since I have been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did then. It's easier to stay organized. I’m more efficient, staying on top of things—both in the big picture and keeping track of the details. I am much happier and freer to take on more things. Also when I make mistakes I'm better able to deal with them practically and emotionally, simply taking corrective steps without beating myself up. My relationships with others are better because my relationship with myself is better.”

—Anne Barton-Veenkant, Georgetown University

Mary Catherine Fixel

“Within two months of practicing Transcendental Meditation I have already noticed a greater mindfulness which I applied to every action – whether it was listening to a friend, taking a walk, or drinking a cup of tea.  My every day experience has become more meaningful. I believe that Transcendental Meditation has awakened in me a profound awareness of my surroundings.  Because of this, I am able to find a peaceful, direct connection to everyone and everything around me.  I feel more ‘present’ and more able to genuinely listen.

“I feel much more at ease despite the increasing level of work that I have to do everyday. The greatest thing Transcendental Meditation has done for me is to have taken the wind out of the sails of anxiety, so to speak, leaving me with a more peaceful mentality with which I approach any given situation.”

—Mary Catherine Fixel, Georgetown University

Tasha Daniels

“I think that when I first started TM I thought stress would just disappear. It’s not that stress doesn’t happen. Stuff still happens that create problems. It’s just the way I respond to stress is different. I can now step back from situations and be calmer and react in a much more effective, creative ways. There’s also the whole thing that you just feel better—your body feels better, you sleep better—and all that’s good for sure. But I think that the best thing about TM is that you can handle stress better.”

—Tasha Daniels, American University

Quintin Jose Pastrana

“My Transcendental Meditation practice has enabled me to feel fully relaxed. At the same time, it’s helped me to be more focused and responsive—to stay restfully alert so that I can more effectively respond to demands at work and at school. It’s also enabled me to be more confident, deliberate, and thoughtful in my interactions with others. I feel blessed and grateful for the opportunity to have learned Transcendental Meditation so that I can continue developing my potential in a completely holistic way.”

—Quintin Jose Pastrana,
Executive MBA, Georgetown University

Hunter Sheetz

“I have a large course-load, intern at Congress, and participate in several campus organizations. Fitting it all in is a major challenge. Since learning the Transcendental Meditation technique, I’m more organized and better able to channel my energies in the most effective ways. During times in which I would usually succumb to stress—“losing my cool”—I have found myself much more calm, balanced, and composed. Transcendental Meditation has enriched all my experiences with a clearer focus originating out of a new-found inner happiness and peace.”

—Hunter Sheetz, Georgetown University

David Roquet

“Practicing Transcendental Meditation has benefited me in so many ways. I feel much more wakeful and aware—more sensitive and intuitive. I am much less stressed in my daily activities, and although I am busier than ever, TM has helped me to more calmly care for my responsibilities—to approach my life in a more effective manner. I am less a driver of myself and more a compassionate companion. It has helped me to know myself from the inside out. What a blessing!”

—David Roquet, George Mason University

Daniel Mercelino

“Since I started TM my health has significantly improved. I’m sick much less. I used to get headaches all the time, but I have only had two headaches the entire semester.

“My attention span has improved, and studying is easier and better. But the best thing about it is that practicing TM is so effortless, and the effect is so immediate.”

—Daniel Mercelino,
University of the District of Columbia

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“Transcendental Meditation changed my life. The changes did not happen overnight or even suddenly enough for me to even notice right away, but when I look back to how I was before I began meditating, it is hard for me to believe how far I’ve come.

“One of the most obvious benefits is simply how much more productive I am. I love to remain busy, and meditation recharges my energy levels so that I can accomplish everything that I want to, and I accomplish things with greater ease and less stress.

“Meditating also helps me to adapt to any situation that is presented to me. I now have a peaceful center that allows me to take on any challenge that life throws at me. Regardless of what happens, I can feel safe and secure, knowing that I have a calm and content place inside. As I continue to meditate daily, I can feel this serenity growing larger. I am able to handle stressful situations and conflicts with greater ease and can communicate my feelings and ideas more clearly. In the past, if I had a conflict with another person, I would feel angry and frustrated, and handle the situation according to these emotions. Now, I have a greater understanding of their frustrations without my own getting in the way, and can work to remedy the situation in a quiet, peaceful manner. I cannot remember the last time I had to raise my voice, though yelling used to be my greatest defense mechanism.

“I am so grateful for learning the Transcendental Meditation technique and cannot imagine my life without it.”

—Jaclyn Boyle, American University

Muni Figueres

“TM has opened a new world for me. My grades are much better, and my whole approach to living is more open and honest. My relationship with my husband and family is much easier and richer. I am freer from stress and I am so, so thankful!”

—Muni Figueres,
University of the District of Columbia

Ibrahim Yansane

“Before I began to practice Transcendental meditation, I was prone to depression. I was frustrated about not being able to fulfill my desires. Now, am doing much better in so many ways. Studying and comprehending is easier than before. My mind is clearer and my energy level is higher. I am making better choices and am no longer so oppressed by time. It’s not that I don’t have moments of anger or frustration—it’s that these feelings no longer bring me down. My heart is so much softer. I am more natural with people—more compassionate, more forgiving, and have greater empathy. Also TM has helped me enjoy my religion more. One seems to affirm the other. I am experiencing more silence in prayer, and am realizing that the essence of religion and the essence of my self are the same—unbounded love and peace.”

—Ibrahim Yansane, University of the District of Columbia

Irma Alba

“I am one of those people who’s always felt I was on a treadmill. Practicing TM has created a huge change. I’m much more positive and optimistic. My personal and study habits have improved immensely. I was never an “A” student but this past semester I made the Dean’s list”

—Irma Alba,
American University

David Stonehill

“On a daily basis, I juggle the demands of classes in two different programs, and additionally do my best to remain physically active, to stay involved with friends and family, to volunteer in the community, and to create post-grad school career opportunities. Thank goodness I’m meditating! Transcendental Meditation cleanses my thought patterns, enabling preparedness for whatever lay in store. It also offers an opportunity for me to engage with my spiritual, holistic nature in a natural, uncomplicated way, enriching all areas of my life. Transcendental Meditation has particularly helped me have more flow in my speech. I have always been plagued by being overly self-conscious of what I say. Since I started TM, this neurosis has almost entirely disappeared and I find myself speaking from my inner-core with more ease and natural rhythm. What a relief!”

—David Stonehill, MBA and MA in
International Development Candidate, American University

Marieta Pehlivanova

“I've noticed I now perceive people quite differently than I did before. I'm much more open to people, and more appreciative of them. I seem to enjoy being around them much more. Before starting Transcendental Meditation, I think that I was too overwhelmed by my work to really notice people and I didn’t have the kind of sensitivity toward them that I do now. Because I am more open and friendly to people, people are also so much nicer to me. It feels great! …During group meditation I experience a blissful feeling of connectedness with the other meditators, as well as with all of humanity. The experience is deeper, finer, more loving and radiating—simply amazing.”

—Marieta Pehlivanova, American University

Patricia McClory

“I am a healthier, happier person than I was before learning Transcendental Meditation. I also feel that I have dramatically reduced my levels of stress and increased my ability to properly handle stressful situations. I feel a significant amount of growth in my ability to reason and think logically, as well as in my sensitivity towards the feelings of others and my overall awareness of myself. I’m so much more comfortable with my ideas. I have more confidence to take risks and express to others what I’m thinking. I don’t worry as much about people’s perceptions of me. I just feel freer and so much happier! I’m excited to experience more benefits as my meditation progresses.”

—Patricia McClory, Biology Major,
Biochemistry Minor, American University

Emily Wessel

“Before learning Transcendental Meditation I tried several forms of meditation but none of them ever came easy or provided any real results. Learning the TM technique was a wonderful surprise. I took to it quickly and immediately began seeing benefits. Since I started practicing it regularly my creative expression through dance has simply exploded, I have been able to tap into a resource that I did not know existed within me. In the past, I have always looked outside of myself to be artistically inspired, it never occurred to me until finding the TM practice that I could be inspired from within. The gratitude that I have for this practice is beyond measure. It has sincerely changed my life. I have found an inner strength that is sacred to me now and I am thankful to Maharishi for making this knowledge available to me.”

—Emily Wessel, Dance major, American University

Chris Bowling

“Group practice of Transcendental Meditation is very important to me because it connects me with community of meditators. This fellowship is a refreshing counterpoint to my daily, solitary TM practice. In turn, group discussion of the experience of Transcendental Meditation often yields insights I can take back & use in my daily practice. It's also gratifying to think that group meditation amplifies the benefits not just for the group, but also for the population at large. By meditating together, we become philanthropists all!”

—Chris Bowling, M.A. student in literature,
Georgetown University

Tricia Spurio

“In high school I was crippled by anxiety. It got so bad that I didn’t want to leave my house. Transcendental Meditation has helped me grow freer and freer from stress and anxiety. I am so much more open, more appreciative, and more giving. My relationships with others have grown richer because my relationship with myself is so much deeper and better. My confidence has increased and my focus has improved. The future seems so much brighter to me now.”

—Tricia Spurio, George Mason University

Laura Larson

“Starting Transcendental Meditation was one of the best things that could have happened to me, and it happened at the absolutely right time in my life. After only a few weeks, I felt as though my mind was expanding. Everything made sense: the universe, life, and my connection to each and every person. My energy was reaching outside of the box which had held me back from realizing my potential for so long. …It feels incredibly good to be on the path towards my full potential.”

—Laura Larson, Theology and Psychology major,
Georgetown University

Josh Goulding

“Eight months ago, my life was overwhelmed by stress. It was difficult for me to be around people.

“This included my family. I didn’t feel like myself. Filled with anxieties about things outside my control, I felt like a part of me was lost.

“When I heard about TM I was immediately skeptical. I read about it extensively but continued to doubt that something so simple could have this extraordinary an effect on someone’s life.

“After my first month of meditating, I still questioned whether the changes I was experiencing were real, or whether I was experiencing placebo effects from the practice. But the benefits just kept growing. Every week and month I just kept feeling better and stronger.

“I feel much less stressed, more clear-minded, and better able to cope with stressful circumstances that come across my path. Academically, I am definitely doing better. I’m more organized and better prepared. I don’t procrastinate as I used to and I have the added energy and self-confidence to participate in classes where before I was apprehensive to do so. I feel like I am able to interact more easily and effectively with other students and with my teachers.

“By the way, since I was in second grade I have been taking prescribed medication for Attention Deficit Disorder. After learning Transcendental Meditation I found my studying getting much easier. As the months went by I consulted my doctor about it. He decided that I didn’t have ADHD after all, and told me I could stop taking the medication.

“As for personal relationships, I have an increased tolerance of other people’s behavior, and more accepting of people. This is something that TM has enabled me to achieve naturally and spontaneously. I believe that Transcendental Meditation is a superhighway to becoming more in touch with one’s Self, a critical component to self-confidence and success.

‘I feel incredibly lucky that I learned how to meditate!”

—Josh Goulding, 4th year Psychology major,
Georgetown University

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